AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising

One-Minute MarketerDo Taglines or Branding Lines Work?

Subscribe to AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising

Do Taglines or Branding Lines Work?

Have you seen the new Nationwide Insurance commercials featuring Rachel Platten, Leslie Odom Jr. and Brad Paisley? The use of modern singers and Peyton Manning singing the tag line and jingle only build the brand. But what makes this branding line so successful? Is it the alliteration? Is that it is short and easily remembered? Is it that it fits the brand? These could add to the power, but the real brand energy is drawn from the courage to stay with a branding line for nearly 50 years.img_0183830

Most want to change lines because of internal reasons: change in CEO, change in marketing director, internal brand members are tired of the brand. Yet the most enduring lines survive the internal battles to rise as a deep connection with the target audience. You can’t hum a line and have people immediately accept it without giving it the gift of time. Lines such as: “Gimme a break, gimme a break…,” “Good to the last drop,” “The best part of waking up is ________ in your cup” or “Nothing outlast ________. It keeps going and going…”

How do you know you have a winner? When it becomes a catch phrase; When you can find other ways to use it beyond its tagline purposes; When you can easily sing it; When your audience knows it as well as you do; When, internally, people know the true meaning.   Taglines or branding lines don’t need to be short, although it helps memorability unless you are the “nighttime, sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, best-sleep-you-ever-got-with-a-cold medicine.” Ultimately, the line must be true to who you are. With an emphasis on the word “true.”  When you find one, “Just do it.” And don’t change. Refresh it, but don’t change.

Written by:

Mark wrote his first direct-mail fundraising letter in 1981 for the University of Iowa Center for Advancement. The effort raised a few million dollars in undiscovered wills and legacy gifts. From that day forward Mark discovered a love of the big idea that moves the needle. After 12 years at KWWL, Mark became a business owner as a co-founder of ME&V — rebranded as AMPERAGE in 2015. After 25 years of leading creative teams in video production, graphic design, PR, writing and web development, Mark transitioned out of ownership in 2021. Today he serves in an employee role as special projects consultant. He is creatively ambidextrous — son of an artist and engineer — and famous for distilling complex ideas down to a few words and a few visuals. Mark is a writer. When he found that many nonprofits struggled with complex branding puzzles, he wrote the book, “NonProfit-NonMarketing .” He also wrote a novel called “Reenactment.” Mark is an active blogger OneMinuteMarketer® with nearly 1,000 readers each week on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. One of his most popular YouTube videos is on “How to Look Good on Zoom.” One of Mark’s fondest business memories was being named to INC 500 two times and attending the INC 500 conference with other winners. Mark is considered by some a Civil War expert (and that explains his novel). Mark also served as an adjunct professor in the business and in the communications departments at Wartburg College. Mark is a graduate of the University of Iowa and is currently vice president of the University of Iowa Journalism and Mass Communications Advisory Board. Mark is married to state Sen. Liz Mathis, and the two love to travel, even when it means being trapped by a volcano in the Czech Republic for three weeks.